Inflatable sea kayaking microadventure: Sembawang beach to Changi beach

The captain of the Divorce Machine (my wife Stephanie) was unavailable to paddle yesterday so cabin boy Blair Spendelow was called in to fill the 2nd seat on the sleek inflatable dream machine.  The plan was to paddle from Sembawang beach down to Changi beach, checking out the small islands of Pulau Seletar and Pulau Serangoon on the way.  The tide was going out all morning which meant the current should he heading east. I was hoping this would push us along nicely and make for a relaxing paddle but it turned out to be quite hard work and the current seemed negligible most of the way and not of any noticeable assistance.

We arrived at Sembawang beach at 7:30am.  It was my first visit to this spot and what a beautiful little beach this is.  The weather was perfect and the sea surface was mirror smooth.  There are great views of the Johor Straits and Johor Bahru across the water.  We soon had the Divorce Machine setup and ready to go, complete with 2 litres of water each(I learnt my dehydration lesson from last trip around Changi about what happens when I don’t drink enough).

Cabin boy Blair Spendelow with the Div orce Machine checking the conditions frrom Sembawang beach.

Cabin boy Blair Spendelow with the Divorce Machine checking the conditions from Sembawang beach.

The paddle started out well and we made good time following along the coastline for the first 10km.  We then chose to cross the strait and paddle around the northern coast of Pulau Ubin.  Coming around the eastern tip of Ubin to Chek Jawa marine reserve the tide was so low that we had to make a large detour to get around the shallow water.  It’s a completely different experience paddling around here at low tide as compared to high tide.

The wind also picked up here and it was a slog to get across the strait to Changi beach.  The Divorce Machine also started taking on water in the choppy sea state. The newly purchased water pump came in handy and Cabin Boy Spendelow did a fine job on the bilge.  We pulled into Changi beach after 4 hours of paddling, a distance of 23km in total and the longest trip the little pleasure craft has made to date.  We packed up the boat on the beach and took a taxi back to Sembawang beach to pickup the car.

This is a really nice paddle with interesting coastline, calm water and nice views across the strait to Malaysia.  I will definitely plan to come back and explore the Islands more in the future.  Enjoy the photos below.

Map of the route from Sembawang beach to Changi beach.

Map of the route from Sembawang beach to Changi beach.

We met Robin - a kayak fisherman in his very cool inflatable kayak. It was peddle powered and he even had an electronic fish finder.

We met Robin – a kayak fisherman in his very cool inflatable kayak. It was pedal powered and he even had an electronic fish finder.

The conditions were smooth and perfect for paddling for the first 10km.

The conditions were smooth and perfect for paddling for the first 10km.

We stopped at Punggol jetty for a quick stretch.

We stopped at Punggol jetty for a quick stretch.

Cabin boy Blair Spendelow took this shot with his GOPRO waterproof camera.

Cabin boy Blair Spendelow took this shot with his GOPRO waterproof camera.

We watch them, they watch us. The Coast Guard came by to check us out. (Photo credit Blair Spendelow)

We watch them, they watch us. The Coast Guard came by to check us out. (Photo credit Blair Spendelow)

Crossing the Johor Strait to Pulau Ubin.

Crossing the Johor Strait to Pulau Ubin.

Love the bow wave of this vessel which steamed past it at a fair rate of knots in the Johor Strait.

Love the bow wave of this vessel which steamed past it at a fair rate of knots in the Johor Strait.

Cabin Boy Spendelow working hard on the bilge pump.

Cabin Boy Spendelow working hard on the bilge pump.

We saw a number of these beautiful birds, they are very elegant and have long legs and for some reason remind of me Gwyneth Paltrow.  If anyone knows the name of these birds please let me know.

We saw a number of these beautiful birds, they are very elegant and have long legs and for some reason remind of me Gwyneth Paltrow. If anyone knows the name of these birds please let me know.

I jumped out for a wee swim in the Johor Strait and took this photo of Blair.

I jumped out for a wee swim in the Johor Strait and took this photo of Blair.

The tide was so low we had to paddle a long way off Chek Jawa Marine Reserve on Pulau Ubin.

The tide was so low we had to paddle a long way off Chek Jawa Marine Reserve on Pulau Ubin.

The end is in sight! Changi beach in the distance.

The end is in sight! Changi beach in the distance.

This blog is listed under a section on my website called ‘Microadventure’.  Microadventures are cheap simple adventures close to home. A chap named Alistair Humphreys coined the phrase ‘microadventure’, you can read about him here.  I will continue to add more microadventures to my website to give people idea’s and inspiration to go on your own adventures.  If you do go on your own, I would love to hear about them and do drop me a line!

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Posted on May 5, 2013, in Microadventure, Sea Kayaking, Singapore Micro Adventure and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Kate E Smith

    Love to keep in contact re your Microadventures. I feel to know the areas you are visiting at the moment although I have never explored by ‘ Divorce Machine’ ! The photos are an extra pleasure although the first one I found amusing. In the UK if someone stands like that, no matter where you are it is usually accompanied by someone saying “I see no ships”. Only amusing at the time. Cheers Kate

  2. Kate E Smith

    Hi Axe it’s your pen pal from over the seas. I notice you placed a comment to Ellis re his desperate desire to climb Everest. It was good of you to reply. I have been helping Ellis from a distance. I sent him all your musings re raising money through sponsorships and any other things you wrote that I thought would be helpfu. I linked him up to Alan Arnett and Mark Horrell. I also organised him an interview on BBC radio Tees.I have also helped him with
    suggestions re his Webb. We have been in very regular contact, sometimes daily for weeks on end. He did have a set back with a potential sponsor when David Tait who is a trustee of the NSPCC decided to climb this year and is self funding hence they didn’t need Ellis anymore.He was hoping for help from them as they were his chosen charity he has raised quite a good deal of money for them and continues to do so.Everest and sponsors is a different ball game these days as you well know.I am really running out of ideas now and don’t know in which direction to point him.If you have any brilliant ideas do pass them along. Thanks meanwhile for bothering to reply. I am enjoying the ‘season’ but the magic left me for a little time after the problems but Alan sent me some of his words of wisdom. Thanks for keeping in touch , you have no idea how I brag about my friend from NZ who climbed Everest last year. My four children who are now all older than you think it’s brilliant that you bother. They are all sporty and I would lie to think they would be a courteous as you. I have my fingers crossed for your friend Margaret this year. Kind regards to Debra Cheers Kate

    • Hi Kate, Yes I did make contact with Ellis briefly. I admire his determination. I offered to discuss with him some sponsorship idea’s but have not heard from him. At the end of the day significant cash sponsorships are difficult to obtain (as opposed to gear sponsorships). Either people get lucky when they bump into someone rich or they can really offer something of value. Having said that – so many people have done it, are still doing it, and I am in the process of doing it again for my next years expedition. This is not reinventing the wheel here. My advice for him is to talk to people who have been there and done that. Normally they are very happy to share their experience and ideas. I am not following the Everest too closely this year. The fight debacle and subsequent media barrage bought out the ugly side in human nature. Both from those involved and from those on the sidelines making comments and attributing blame. There are too many other adventures in life to focus on for me. I have wonderful memories of two Everest expeditions and do not want them muddied! Have a lovely day Kate.

      • Kate E Smith

        Thanks Axe, I am looking forward to next year already. I passed your message on to Ellis, thanks Cheers Kate

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